By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—NOT fewer than 300 students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, yesterday, protested in many parts of Ibadan metropolis over an unresolved ownership crisis between the two owner states of Oyo and Osun, which led to declaration of strike by the academic staff of the institution seven months ago.
While lamenting that they were fed up with the continued closure of their school and endless misunderstanding between the two states over funding of the institution, the students displayed placards with varying inscriptions such as “Save our future, reopen LAUTECH”, “7 months strike action has jeopardized Ladokites”, ”Ajimobi answer us; stop playing politics with our future”, “We are not thugs; we are intellectual radicals.“
Police warns against protest
While reacting to the protest, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Police Adekunle Ajisebutu, said: “The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Sam Adegbuyi held a parley with representatives of LAUTECH students over a planned protest.”
Addressing the students led by former SUG President, Bakare Sule, the CP warned them against violence, while advising them to seek audience with governors of Oyo and Osun states, where possible and articulate their grievances in writing.
Although, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said two days ago that the students should be getting ready for resumption in a few days, the students led by Sodunola Obafemi, from Obafemi Awolowo University, Sanyaolu Juwon, National Secretary of Alliance of Nigerian Students against Neo-Liberal Attacks, Omoakin Monsurudeen, Fawole Israel Opeyemi, Omole Ibukun and Ajayi Moyosore, described the utterance as mere political statement, adding that it was the school’s management that should announce resumption and not the governor.
The students’ leaders who spoke in turns, said, the Professor Gbadegesin-led management of LAUTECH announced the closure of the university on 13th of June 2016.
Later, the students marched through Mokola roundabout to Government secretariat where Governor Abiola Ajimobi assured them that their school will be re-opened before the end of January.
LAUTECH to get N500m lifeline– Ajimobi
Meantime, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, suspended the State Executive Council meeting to calm the frayed nerves of the students, who staged a peaceful protest to his office in Ibadan, yesterday.
The governor said he suspended the meeting to address the students because of his concern for their plight and to enable them hear directly from him about the concerted efforts to douse the tension.
Ajimobi said that he was working in concert with his Osun State counterpart, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, for both states to mobilise an initial N500m lifeline to defray the salary arrears of the striking academic and non-academic members of the school.
He said; “The crux of the matter is that government lacks funds. I’m sure all of you are aware of the mounting financial difficulties confronting the country, in which we have a fair share. Nevertheless, we (Oyo and Osun states) have reached a solid agreement on how to contribute funds to start with.
“We are contributing an initial N250million each as allocation to LAUTECH to achieve the set goal of getting the university reopened. This is in continuation of our continuous search for every opportunity to improve education standards in the states.”